Bristol is in the plans, but in general there are two issues:
(1) Bristol itself is not big enough to support a train. Knoxville might be, but time becomes a serious issue. Feeder buses are another question, too.
I don't know much about how Amtrak factors population centers into their decisions, but ...
- Roanoke MSA (metropolitan statistical area) population, according to a quick google is in the 300,000 range.
- Tri-Cities TN CSA (combined statistical area) population (of which Bristol is a part) is over 500,000, and Bristol is ~90 minutes from Asheville, N.C., an MSA of another 500,000 people. The Bristol train station is in Bristol VA just feet from the state line, and the beautiful Bristol VA/TN sign (maybe you've seen it in the Geico commercial).
- Knoxville MSA is over a million population.
Virginia doesn't stop at Roanoke, y'all.
Additionally, I board the Silver Star in S.C. at 2am for my Florida trips, a 3.5 hr drive from my home. I have to leave the house at 3am for many flights that depart 5am-6am. We put up with the ridiculous requirements for air already, so why not rail.
The Roanoke MSA is #160 according to Wikipedia. The Kingsport-Bristol MSA is #162. Adding Johnson City to the CSA increases things, but at that point you might as well add Lynchburg to Roanoke. https://en.wikipedia...atistical_Areas